In Memory of





Obituary for Geneva Maxine Laws (Cates)

Mrs. Geneva Maxine Cates Smith-Laws, the daughter of the late Alexander Cates and Ella Morris Wheeler Cates, was born December 15, 1936 in Rougemont, North Carolina. After the passing of her mother Maxine was raised by her late aunt Mattie Wheeler Arrington in Lemon Springs, North Carolina. Maxine departed this life on Friday November 22, 2019 surrounded by family.

Maxine attended schools in both Rougemont and Sanford during her years of living in North Carolina. She was a 1955 graduate of W.B. Wicker High School in Sanford, NC. Maxine married Garland G Smith and move to Seattle, Washington where later they welcomed five children. While in Seattle she was employed for a short time with the Boeing Aerospace Company, Jencelite, Fredrick & Nelson, and the Seattle School District where she retired after 30 plus years of service. Before and after retirement she enjoyed her part-time employment working for both the Seattle Mariners and Seattle Seahawks.

While in Seattle, Maxine was a faithful member of Peoples Institution Baptist Church, and while in North Carolina she was an active member of her family church home New Red Mountain Missionary Baptist Church.

Maxine loved music, singing, and her family. You could often find her sitting in her favorite spot by the window with her collection of cassette tapes, or watching her Judge shows. Maxine was known by many and could go nowhere without seeing someone she knew, which speaks in volumes to her character. She was called “mom” and loved by many who adored her.

She is preceded in death by, her son, Garland Gilbert Smith Jr.; stepmother, Mary Cates; sisters, Sara Elizabeth Cates, Rosa Lee Blackmon, Hattie Corinna Roberts; brothers, John Cates, Ellison Cates, Jerome Cates, Earl Cates, Alexander Cates Jr. and George Cates.

She leaves to carry on her legacy, her husband, Godfrey Laws; daughters, Cheryl Dianne Smith & Kathy Marie Smith; sons, Gilford Wallis, Smith, William Anthony Smith, and Patrick Robles, all of Seattle, WA; grandchildren, Alexander Gaffney, LaToya Maxine Smith, J’Nae Smith, Gilford Smith Jr.; god daughter, Sonia Edmondson; sisters, Lugenia Parker (William) of Bahama, NC, Louise Cates Harris, Pearl Cates-Bullock, Mary Cates Curry, Marie Cates Carrington, Evelyn Cates, Pauline Cates, and Claudine Cates, all of Durham NC; sister-in-law Dorothy Cates of Bronx, NY; brothers, James Cates (Jean), Samuel Cates, Goldsmith Cates (Amay), Joesph Cates, all of Durham NC; along with a host of loving cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.